Category Archives: precepting

Advice From a Student: How to Recruit Medical Students into Family Medicine During Rotation

Medical students, especially those with little exposure to careers in medicine, have great difficulty imagining a career in medicine other than what they see and experience through their rotations.

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Antoinette Moore, 4th-Year Medical Student

And shortly after rotations, they are asked to make choices that place their careers on certain trajectories. And while the scope of someone’s ideal practice will grow and change, the choice of specialty defines us in a way that is undeniably powerful and far reaching into our professional careers.

As I wrap up my third year of medical school, what has become apparent to me is that there are two often unnoticed—and often under-promoted—qualities that influence whether a student chooses one specialty over another.

These two qualities are physical and metaphysical. Physical describes the more brick and mortar/billable procedure/patient population aspects students are exposed to during rotations, such as “Is the preceptorship in a small town or a large urban setting?” and “Does this rotation expose students to a wide variety of patient presentations, procedures, and demographics?” The metaphysical is a bit harder to quantify but importantly demonstrates how happy employees are with their chosen line of work. It speaks to the culture of the rotation environment, which, to the student, serves as a representation of the profession as a whole.

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Risks, Benefits, and the “Invisible Bag”

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Richard F. Mitchell, MD, MS

“Did you discuss prostate cancer screening with your patient?”

“I did, but…”

“But what?”

“Well, it was strange, but as I was discussing the risks and benefits, the patient just looked at me and said, ‘This is confusing, can’t you just tell me what I should do? What would you do if it was you?’”

Has something like this happened to you while you were precepting residents? Has it happened to you when you were talking to your own patients? In this age of patient-centered care, we teach our residents to involve patients in shared decision making. How do you counsel a resident working with a patient who doesn’t want to buy into that program? How do you teach your residents to respond to the question, “If it was you, what would you do?”

You might find the answer in an invisible bag.

“There is an invisible bag right in front of you. Think ‘Santa Claus sack.’ Would you like to reach in and take something out?”

“Why would I do that?”

“It’s full of $100,000 bills.”

“Yes! Can I take two?”

“No. But there’s something else you should know. The bag also has blank pieces of paper that feel exactly like $100,000 bills.”

“That’s OK—can I put my hand in now?”

“One last bit of information before you do—it’s also full of razor blades.”

“…Ah.”

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